Exploring Handshakes

Topics: Big Five personality traits, Nonverbal communication, Handshake Pages: 22 (6450 words) Published: September 20, 2010
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to: Greg L. Stewart, Department of Management and Organizations, Tippie College of Business, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242 Electronic Mail may be sent to: greg-stewart@uiowa.edu.

A firm handshake is often identified as an aspect of nonverbal communication that has a critical influence on impressions formed during employment interviews. Indeed, a recent search of the Internet revealed nearly a million listings that detailed the importance of the handshake and gave advice about the proper way to shake hands during an interview. In spite of seemingly widespread acceptance of the important role the handshake plays in interview success, empirical research examining the handshake in employment interviews is lacking.

Nonverbal cues other than the handshake, such as eye contact during discussions and smiling, have been shown to have a critical influence on interview assessments (DeGroot & Motowidlo, 1999). Although not studied in the interview context, the ubiquitous prevalence of the handshake at both the beginning and the end of interviews suggests that nonverbal cues communicated through the shaking of hands may convey important information about job applicants. The handshake may specifically convey information about an individual's personality, as early research suggested a traitlike relationship between the handshake and personality (Chaplin, Phillips, Brown, Clanton, & Stein, 2000; Vanderbilt, 1957). In short, good handshakes are believed to communicate sociability, friendliness, and dominance, whereas poor handshakes may communicate introversion, shyness, and neuroticism (Chaplin et al., 2000). Yet, research has not explored relationships between the nonverbal act of shaking hands and employment interview evaluations.

In this article, we empirically examine the role of the handshake in employment interviews. We first seek to determine whether quality of the handshake does indeed correspond with interviewer assessments. We then explore the nature of what is being conveyed through the handshake by examining relationships between the handshake and personality. We also assess the effect of potential gender differences in handshaking. Is Handshake Quality Related to Ratings in Employment Interviews?

In the interview context, nonverbal behaviors are assumed to convey useful information (Gifford, Ng, & Wilkinson, 1985; Schlenker, 1980). The category of nonverbal cues can be broadly defined as cues, other than the content of responses, or demographic differences like sex and race (Parsons & Liden, 1984). Nonverbal behaviors commonly thought to be important during an interview include eye contact, smiling, posture, interpersonal distance, and body orientation (Forbes & Jackson, 1980; Imada & Hakel, 1977; Motowidlo & Burnett, 1995; Young & Beier, 1977). These behaviors are assumed to influence interviewer reactions, which in turn result in attributions of applicant characteristics such as communication ability, intelligence, and self-confidence (DeGroot & Motowidlo, 1999; McGovern & Tinsley, 1978).

Given that a handshake typically occurs in the interview setting, it is surprising that researchers have not looked at the role this form of tactile nonverbal communication may play in the interview setting. The handshake is a nonverbal touch behavior that can convey an "immediacy" dimension in interviews (Imada & Hakel, 1977). Immediacy is an interaction between two individuals that involves close physical proximity and/or perceptual availability (Mehrabian, 1972). It has been theorized that greater immediacy leads to attributions of greater liking (Imada & Hakel, 1977; Mehrabian, 1967). Because the act of shaking hands requires physical contact, the handshake should influence immediacy evaluations. Physical touch is generally associated with warmth, closeness, caring, and intimacy (Edinger & Patterson, 1983). Of course, awkward handshakes can also...

References: Arvey, R. (1979). Unfair discrimination in the employment interview: Legal and psychological aspects. Psychological Bulletin, 86, 736–765.
Arvey, R. D., & Campion, J. E. (1982). The employment interview: A summary review of recent research. Personnel Psychology, 35, 281–322.
Astrom, J. (1994). Introductory greeting behavior: A laboratory investigation of approaching and closing salutation phases. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 79, 863–897.
Astrom, J., & Thorell, L. (1996). Greeting behavior and psychogenic need: Interviews on experiences of therapists, clergymen, and car salesmen. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 83, 939–956.
Astrom, J., Thorell, L.Holmlund, U., & d 'Elia, G. (1993). Handshaking, personality, and psychopathology in psychiatric patients, a reliability and correlational study. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 77, 1171–1186.
Barr, S. H., & Hitt, M. A. (1986). A comparison of selection decision models in manager versus student samples. Personnel Psychology, 39(3), 599.
Barrick, M. R., Mount, M. K., & Judge, T. A. (2001). Personality and performance at the beginning of the new millennium: What do we know and where do we go next?International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 9(1–2), 9–30.
Bentler, P. M. (1990). Comparative fit indexes in structural models. Psychological Bulletin, 107, 238–246.
Bentler, P. M., & Wu, J. C. (1995). EQS for Windows user 's guide. Encino, CA: Multivariate Software.
Browne, M. W., & Cudeck, R. (1993). Alternative ways of assessing model fit. In K. A.Bollen & J. S.Long (Eds.), Testing structural equation models (pp. 136–162). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.
Buck, R., Miller, R. E., & Caul, W. F. (1974). Sex, personality and physiological variables in the communication of emotion via facial expression. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 41, 391–396.
Burke, P. (1996). Gender shock: Exploding the myths of male and female. New York: Anchor Books/Doubleday.
Cable, D. M., & Judge, T. A. (1997). Interviewers ' perceptions of person–organization fit and organizational selection decisions. Journal of Applied Psychology, 79, 897–908.
Caldwell, D. F., & Burger, J. M. (1998). Personality characteristics of job applicants and success in screening interviews. Personnel Psychology, 51(1), 119–136.
Chaplin, W. F., Phillips, J. B., Brown, J. D., Clanton, N. R., & Stein, J. L. (2000). Handshaking, gender, personality and first impressions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 79, 110–117.
Cohen, J., & Cohen, P. (1983). Applied multiple regression/correlation analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd ed.). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Costa, P. T., Jr., & McCrae, R. R. (1992). Revised NEO personality inventory (NEO-PI–R) and NEO Five-Factor inventory (NEO-FFI) professional manual. Odessa, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources.
DeFruyt, F., & Mervielde, I. (1999). RIASEC types and Big Five traits as predictors of employment status and nature of employment. Personnel Psychology, 52(3), 701–727.
DeGroot, T., & Motowidlo, S. J. (1999). Why visual and vocal interview cues can affect interviewers ' judgments and predict performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 84, 986–993.
Dipboye, R. L. (1982). Self-fulfilling prophecies in the selection–recruitment interview. Academy of Management Review, 7, 579–586.
Dougherty, T. W., Turban, D. B., & Callender, J. C. (1994). Confirming first impressions in the employment interview: A field study of interviewer behavior. Journal of Applied Psychology, 79, 659–665.
Eagly, A. H., Ashmore, R. D., Makhijani, M. G., & Longo, L. C. (1991). What is beautiful is good, but…: A meta-analytic review of research on the physical attractiveness stereotype. Psychological Bulletin, 110, 109–128.
Edinger, J. A., & Patterson, M. L. (1983). Nonverbal involvement and social control. Psychological Bulletin, 93, 30–56.
Forbes, R. J., & Jackson, P. R. (1980). Nonverbal behavior and the outcome of selection interviews. Journal of Occupational Psychology, 53, 65–72.
Forsythe, S., Drake, M. F., & Cox, C. E. (1985). Influence of applicant 's dress on interviewer 's selection decisions. Journal of Applied Psychology, 70, 374–378.
Gifford, R., Ng, C. F., & Wilkinson, M. (1985). Nonverbal cues in the employment interview: Links between applicant qualities and interviewer judgments. Journal of Applied Psychology, 70, 729–736.
Goldberg, C., & Cohen, D. J. (2004). Gender differences in the impact of interviewing skills on applicant assessments. Group & Organization Management, 29(3), 369–384.
Graham, G. H., Unruh, J., & Jennings, P. (1991). The impact of nonverbal communication in organizations: A survey of perceptions. Journal of Business Communication, 28, 45–62.
Hall, P. M., & Hall, D. A. (1983). The handshake as interaction. Semiotica, 45, 249–264.
Harris, M. M. (1989). Reconsidering the employment interview: A review of recent literature and suggestions for future research. Personnel Psychology, 42, 691–726.
Higgins, C. A., & Judge, T. A. (2004). The effect of applicant influence tactics on recruiter perceptions of fit and hiring recommendations: A field study. Journal of Applied Psychology, 89, 622–632.
Hitt, M. A., & Barr, S. H. (1989). Managerial selection decision models: Examination of configural cue processing. Journal of Applied Psychology, 74, 53–62.
Hosoda, M., Stone-Romero, E. F., & Coats, G. (2003). The effects of physical attractiveness on job-related outcomes: A meta-analysis of experimental studies. Personnel Psychology, 56, 431–462.
Huffcutt, A. I., Conway, J. M., Roth, P. L., & Stone, N. J. (2001). Identification and meta-analytic assessment of psychological constructs measured in employment interviews. Journal of Applied Psychology, 86, 897–913.
Imada, A. S., & Hakel, M. D. (1977). Influence of nonverbal communication and rater proximity on impressions and decisions in simulated employment interviews. Journal of Applied Psychology, 62, 295–300.
Jöreskog, K. G., & Sörbom, D. (1993). LISREL 6: Analysis of linear structural relationships by maximum likelihood and least square methods. Mooresville, IN: Scientific Software.
Kenny, D. A., & Judd, C. M. (1986). Consequences of violating the independence assumption in analysis of variance. Psychological Bulletin, 99, 422–431.
Kinicki, A. J., & Lockwood, C. J. (1985). The interview process: An examination of factors recruiters use in evaluating candidates. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 26, 117–125.
LaFrance, M., & Mayo, C. (1979). A review of nonverbal behaviors of women and men. Western Journal of Speech Communication, 43, 96–107.
Macan, T. H., & Dipboye, R. L. (1988). The effects of interviewers ' initial impressions on information gathering. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 42(3), 364–387.
Macan, T. H., & Dipboye, R. L. (1990). The relationship of interviewers ' preinterview impressions to selection and recruitment outcomes. Personnel Psychology, 43, 745–768.
Mack, D., & Rainey, D. (1990). Female applicants ' grooming and personnel selection. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 5, 399–407.
McGovern, T. V., & Tinsley, H. (1978). Interviewer evaluations of interviewee nonverbal behavior. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 13(2), 163–171.
Mehrabian, A. (1967). Orientation behaviors and nonverbal attitude communication. Journal of Communication, 17, 324–332.
Mehrabian, A. (1972). Nonverbal communication. Chicago: Atherton.
Motowidlo, S. J., & Burnett, J. R. (1995). Aural and visual sources of validity in structured employment interviews. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 61(3), 239–249.
Mount, M. K., Barrick, M. R., & Wonderlic Consulting. (2002). Personal Characteristics Inventory. Libertyville, IL: Wonderlic.
Parsons, C. K., & Liden, R. C. (1984). Interviewer perceptions of applicant qualifications: A multivariate field study of demographic characteristics and nonverbal cues. Journal of Applied Psychology, 69, 557–568.
Posthuma, R. A., Morgeson, F. P., & Campion, M. A. (2002). Beyond employment interview validity: A comprehensive narrative review of recent research and trends over time. Personnel Psychology, 55(1), 1–89.
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Handshake Essay
  • Handshakes and Personality Essay
  • Handshake Research Paper
  • Exploring Strategy Essay
  • Exploring the Paranormal Essay
  • Exploring Self Essay
  • Exploring the Earth Essay
  • Exploring Significance Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free